Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Thanks to Everyone who worked so hard on the petition drive. We got it on the ballot and now we have to take the next step and tell everyone to Vote YES on Metro Charter Amendment #1. When passed this amendment will require voter approval of property tax rate increases.
HERE is a one page PDF flyer you can print, copy, and handout to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and anybody else who is a voter in Metro Nashville/Davidson County.
HERE is a PDF copy of the petition with the text of the amendment. HERE is a summary of why we feel so strongly about passing this amendment. HERE and HERE are press releases with supporting info. HERE and HERE are TV news reports.
Note: Blogging for the next week or so on TaxingTennessee.com will be lite.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. President, many talk about what Europe and the world can or should do to help Africa, especially with illegal immigrants making headlines in their struggle to reach Europe. But surely Africa has something to offer Europe?
President Abdoulaye Wade: Europe would benefit greatly from turning more to Africa. The world is evolving such that the upcoming big powers will be the US, China, India, and possibly Brazil. Europe is not one of the major powers. And Africa even less so of course. But Africa has what Europe lacks: space, human resources, and natural resources while Europe has the technological innovation that Africa lacks. Together we can become a power which can count in the future. I'm not interested in being sentimental about Africa. I'm an economist and I am here because Germany has a role to play economically and financially. The discussions I had in Berlin show that we have a lot in common
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What do you need from Europe?
Wade: We are ready to accept precise forms of help. I don't want money, and I don't want hand-outs. I want trade agreements with European firms who will come to Senegal and work with African firms. Anything else is a waste of time.
"My earlier coverage of this decision is here. I expect that the Supreme Court will answer the question presented in the negative, ruling that a state may set up a system whereby nonmembers of unions must affirmatively consent before the union can deduct money for political purposes. I was surprised by the original Washington state supreme court ruling holding that such a system violated the union's first amendment rights, in that it was not as narrowly tailored as an "opt-out" provision (whereby monies for political purposes are automatically deducted unless the nonmember asks that they not be deducted)."
"Kaplan accounts for a growing portion of revenue for the Post company, keeping it healthier than many other media enterprises. In 2005, Kaplan provided 40 percent of the company’s operating revenue, up from 34 percent in 2004.
The newsweekly will help Kaplan provide students with case studies of current business topics as well as video and online presentations, chats and interviews. Some material will be published in Newsweek and on its Web site, but some will be reserved exclusively for Kaplan.
Andrew S. Rosen, president of Kaplan University, said the Newsweek material would be reworked for students. “We’ll have someone rewrite it for students, take out the color, and put it into a format so the lessons we want students to draw from it are clear,’’
"These companies, and hundreds more, made themselves appear new at a time when the state was offering to erase property taxes, sales taxes and corporate income taxes for new businesses.
The Empire Zone program was meant to entice new businesses to grow in New York instead of South Carolina or South America. In reality, businesses that make up the very foundation of New York's history were reborn and rewarded with millions of dollars in tax cuts.
The state cut a decade's worth of taxes for some companies even when they cut jobs, business owners acknowledged."
Why aren't competitive fitness centers raising holy heck about this?? Why aren't taxpayers raising holy heck about this?? Maybe they are, I certainly hope so.
This incident gives some insight into why Chambers of Commerce across the state have become enthusiastic cheerleaders for local tax increases of all sorts. Apparently, it is old fashioned to open a business with the expectation of profitability. Heck, when the taxpayers will subsidize your business you don't have to worry about making a profit.
"The original recommendation called for the tax rate to remain the same as last year at $1.87. But some commissioners thought a 13 cent increase, which will be added to the county's debt service fund, would better prepare them to fund a school building program as well as a jail expansion/justice center project in the coming months and years.
In all, the amendment and the new recommendation each passed 17-8.
Voting in favor of the amendment and new recommendation were Commissioners Bob Scott, Pete Speropulos, Paul Woodby, C.B. Kinch, Frank Bolus, Mark Hicks Jr., Jim Powell, Phil McPeak, Wendell Messimer, Ron England, Gerald Sparks, Scott Buckingham, Mark Larkey, Janice White, Ben Bowman, Danny Edens and Pat Wolfe.
Those opposed to the two measures were Sam Humphreys, Peggy Richardson, Sid Campbell, Bill Biles, Richard Matherly, Mark Ferguson, Kyle Shell and Evert Jarrett."
Monday, September 25, 2006
"Federal spending in 2006 is set to rise 9 percent, the largest increase since 1990 and enough to earn Congress near failing grades from the Heritage Foundation’s third quarter report card. Most families facing steep new expenses would cut back on additional spending. However, the Senate is preparing to bust fiscal year (FY) 2007 discretionary spending caps by at least $32 billion"
If ANYONE says that the Tennessee State Income Tax is a dead issue, they are either being disingenuous or naive about the facts.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Furthermore, we note that Article I, section 1, of Tennessee’s constitution provides that the people have an “unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.” The constitution is the truest expression of the will of the people, and it is their intent in adopting a constitutional provision that must prevail. See Williams v. Carr, 404 S.W.2d 522, 526 (Tenn. 1966). Accepting the plaintiffs’ position in this case would require us to ignore the fundamental principle of self-government embodied in Article I, section 1. This we are not willing to do. Instead, we continue to adhere to the principle that “the constitution does not mandate a uniform structure of county governments across the state. It specifically authorizes legislation creating different forms of local” government, and the “General Assembly has very broad powers and discretion” in this regard. Leech, 588 S.W.2d at 272. Although the plaintiffs argue that such an approach to Article VII “invites chaos,” we are aware of no evidence to support such a conclusion, and none has been cited to us.
Fred's will offer the program in its pharmacies in Memphis, Bartlett, and Millington.
Wal-Mart was the first to announce it's $4 generic plan Thursday. By Friday morning, Target announced it would match Wal-Mart's generic drug prices.
Fred's reduced prices will begin Monday, September 25th. Fred's will offer 300 of the most common generic medicines, used to treat illnesses such as diabetes, colds, infections, asthma, and heart diseases, at $4 per prescription for up to a 30-day supply.
Fred's program will be available to Fred's employees as well as all customers - insured or uninsured.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Here is just one site which lists the data from random users (not for the faint of heart.) I am sure there are many others.
One definition of "meme": an idea, project, statement or even a question that is posted by one blog and responded to by other blogs. Although the term encompasses much of the natural flow of communication in the Blogosphere, there are active bloggers and blog sites that are dedicated to the creation of memes on a regular basis.
The annexation ordinance and plan of services must be approved at two more BMA meetings, with a public hearing to be held in conjunction with the October 10 meeting. In anticipation of an even larger crowd, the October meeting and public hearing will be held at the Rogersville City School."
Friday, September 22, 2006
Total income tax share (percentage):
Year Top 1% Top 5%
1986 25.75 42.57
1987 24.81 43.26
1988 27.58 45.62
1989 25.24 43.94
1990 25.13 43.64
1991 24.82 43.38
1992 27.54 45.88
1993 29.01 47.36
1994 28.86 47.52
1995 30.26 48.91
1996 32.31 50.97
1997 33.17 51.87
1998 34.75 53.84
1999 36.18 55.45
2000 37.42 56.47
2001 33.89 53.25
2002 33.71 53.80
2003 34.27 54.36
2004 36.89 57.13
The new Loudon County Mayor decided that citizens asking for public records were just too damned pesky so he decided to assess a fee of $25 and required all records requests to be in writing. BOTH of these policies are illegal. Attorney Phil Harber has filed suit on behalf of Loudon County residents to STOP this raw arrogance by someone who is supposed to be a public servant, not a public tyrant. Thank you Phil Harber and clients for standing up!!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
HERE is a fascinating video of a presentation by its creators.
LOTS of YouTube videos about Second Life.
"Council officials in Middlesbrough, north-east England, have fitted loudspeakers to seven CCTV cameras in the town centre that yell at people up to no good.
“It is like a public humiliation in a way, but it means that the person won’t do it again,” Cr Barry Coppinger said. “The voice addresses the person who is littering, for example, directly by saying, ‘Could the person in the green jacket please pick that up’.”
"Competition" is really just the freedom to believe that you are as good or better than someone else at producing a good or service and because of free markets we ALL benefit from competition.
The New Economist Blog links to a NYT article on how the rest of Asia is catching up to Japanese quality. Great Read.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
"A huge spider web." Cunningham "earmarked" millions of dollars in defense projects for Wade and Wilkes in a manner so brazen federal prosecutors called it "unparalleled" in the long, sordid history of congressional corruption. Cunningham now is serving an eight-year prison term, while Wade, 46, has pleaded guilty to paying Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes and is cooperating with prosecutors. Wade's sentencing has been postponed until next March. He faces a maximum prison term of 135 months. He declined to be interviewed for this account, as did his attorneys.
Prosecutors are using information from Melkessetian and his MZM colleagues to test Wade's veracity, to track cash or other assets he may be hiding, and to recommend the length of his prison sentence. The MZM employees have told investigators that they were unaware of Wade's corrupt acts, but as Melkessetian puts it, they suspected he was "up to no good."
Today, the FBI, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Defense Security Service are working with prosecutors to put the finishing touches on indictments against several other defense contractors, and senior defense and intelligence officials, who helped Wade with his corrupt activities. "We have been looking at everybody that's involved," says a federal law enforcement official. "Anytime you talk about defense contracting, it's a huge spider web."
"Each legislative season, corporate executives and lobbyists quietly draft hundreds of bills to suspend tariffs. Over time, the changes cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue, a Washington Post analysis of U.S. trade data found.
Most of the tariff suspensions involve obscure chemicals and dyes, but many other products show up, including boilers for nuclear reactors, green peanuts, child potty seats, unicycles -- even chocolate coatings for laxatives.
"It's become sort of a lobbyists' dream," said Jim Schollaert, a former State Department trade specialist who now represents domestic manufacturers. "It's a gravy train, and there's little work to it."
The bills in Congress generally give no hint of whom the suspensions have been designed to benefit and sometimes refer to the products only by strings of numbers linked to phone-book-size tariff tables. But many corporate names can be found in reports on the legislation produced for Congress by the U.S. International Trade Commission."
"In less than two months Nashville voters could be more powerful than ever before."
It's a particularly dismal statistic for Canada, a country that's seen its global share of foreign direct investment drop in recent years and is struggling to adjust to rising competition from Asian nations."
HT: Be Spacific
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Why don't Tennessee cities simply start asking prospective new residents very nicely, "would you like to be annexed?" Why do city officials for so many Tennessee cities simply try to force annexation on the unwilling?
"On Aug. 30, 10 residents in Area 1 filed a lawsuit in Kingsport Chancery Court in an effort to stop the annexation. Citizens for Home Rule, a not-for-profit advocacy organization located in Knoxville, assisted the residents in the filing of the lawsuit."
The Ninth Circuit now joins two other circuits in holding that voter-circulated petitions (in this case, recall petitions; in the other cases, initiative petitions) need not be translated into other languages to comply with section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. The majority held, and Judge Reinhardt agreed, that these petitions were not materials "provided by" the state to comply with the VRA.
From now on you don't even have to promise new jobs, you just need poltical friends in high places and they get you a "retroactive tax abatement."
Can you imagine the line that will form at the next council meeting.
But NO...reading further I find that not only will PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) continue but favored companies will be required to pay $12/hour with benefits.
Sooo.....not only will Memphis continue to have the highest property tax rate in the state, but they are also pricing low skilled workers, those that need help the most, out of the market.
Politicians with good intentions are probably the single most dangerous group of people.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Here is the article, appropriately titled: Money for Nothing
Like most large (in this case, humongous) taxpayer funded projects where there is a large industry (tourist and hotel) trying to get funds from taxpayers to subsidize them, the "studies" performed to justify the project are always "best case scenario, all other things remaining the same." And, of course, the scenario is never "best" and all "other things" never remain the same.
If everything is so rosy then surely the hotel and tourism industry would be HAPPY to assume all the financial risks just like any other private business making an investment. But that is the basic fallacy for all taxpayer subsidies of private business. If it can only be "profitable" by taking money out of the taxpayer's pockets to pay for it then its not really profitable.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Marsha Blackburn-R 98.60%
William Jenkins-R 95.50%
Zach Wamp-R 93.90%
Jimmy Duncan-R 90.70%
Lincoln Davis-D 33.10%
John Tanner-D 26.60%
Bart Gordon-D 26.40%
Jim Cooper-D 19.30%
Harold Ford Jr-D 14.30%
"She said: "I just don't like him (chef brought in to prepare healthy food) and what he stands for. He is forcing our kids to become more picky about their food. Who does he think he is? He can feed whatever he wants to his kids but he should realise that other parents think differently."
Schools have been told to serve healthier menus including at least two servings of fruit and vegetables per day, and no more than two portions of deep-fried food each week."
Saturday, September 16, 2006
TAXES AND POLITICS
Rep. Tom Reynolds, the campaign manager in charge of keeping the Republican majority in the House, gave his approval to a bid by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas to force a tax bill through the September session of Congress.
Reynolds’s opinion is given the highest weight, even more than Speaker Dennis Hastert’s, in the current House Republican leadership meetings. These sessions have concentrated on what might help elect Republicans in November. Reynolds previously had been skeptical about the political value of a pre-election tax measure.
Thomas, in his typical style, has kept quiet on the details of what would be his final tax bill as he ends his congressional career. Not as usual, Thomas has been in contact with the Senate, indicating he means business.
Friday, September 15, 2006
HT: Depth Reporting
The Sunlight Foundation is offering $1,000 to ANYONE who convinces their Congressperson to sign a pledge that they will post their daily schedule on the net.
"Note that Republican Jerry Lewis, the old-timey Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, struggled against his reform-minded Republican colleagues and lost. David Obey, the thin-skinned, corpulent man who might be chairman if the Democrats take over, blows smoke about how this reform kills lobby reform. He's loud but wrong. Earmark reform is a very strong cleaning agent -- if Members can't direct spending to special projects unless they do so in public and with their names attached, then the lobbyists paid to win appropriations will shift what they do and how they do it. They'll either be able to justify the need in public, or they will pursue other work, or they will wither away. That's effective lobby reform, Mr. Obey."
"Taxpayers seeking help from volunteer centers be warned: a government
audit shows 60 percent of returns prepared by volunteers may be wrong.
The I-R-S has been moving away from helping taxpayers prepare and file
their returns. Instead, it's been encouraging them to go to volunteer
centers like the ones audited by Treasury inspectors.
The centers assist low- to moderate-income, elderly and disabled
filers. They also help people with limited English skills. While the
I-R-S provides training and some support, the centers are run by
"Glover is the second legislator this year to call for phasing out the tax, and he said a focus on eliminating the tax by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe and Republican Asa Hutchinson shows there's momentum for the proposal.
Beebe has said he wants to phase out the grocery tax over time and Hutchinson has said he wants to eliminate the tax outright.
"I don't think there's any question that it's going to happen this next session, no matter who's in that office," said Glover, D-Carlisle. "It's going to happen. There's no if, ands or buts about it."
Thursday, September 14, 2006
"A network of brokers, accountants, attorneys and other providers is increasingly promoting offshore trusts and accounts as a way to avoid lawsuits, creditors and, in some cases, federal and local taxes in the USA. Riding the rapid expansion of the Internet, some parts of the mini-industry are making tax-avoidance techniques — once mainly offered to high-net-worth individuals in private conferences — available online to average Americans.
"This growing access to people who aren't wealthy and are willing to pay a $3,000 fee ... to someone to help hide their assets offshore is getting to be a huge problem," says Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., ranking minority member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which in August released the latest in a series of reports on potential offshore abuses. "Honest taxpayers get socked with the bill" as tax avoiders transfer assets offshore, Levin said."
Lets see if I can remember any high school cheers, "Two bits, Four bits, six bits, a dollar, All for Dedrick, stand up and holler....YEA!!!!!"
"Memphis City Councilman Dedrick Brittenum is exploring the feasibility of an across-the-board property tax cut for every homeowner in the City of Memphis.
It could possibly be done, he reasons, if the city pulled the plug on the current tax break program that abates millions of dollars in taxes for select businesses relocating or expanding in the city.
"My question is, can we reduce the tax rate overall that would make it competitive for companies moving here?" Brittenum said. "Is there a threshold where we could reduce taxes so that everybody benefits? Can we reduce it enough and still have enough money to run government?"
Brittenum said he's floated the idea around town and has gotten a welcome response."
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Wednesday September 13, 2006
For Immediate Release:
Committee to Let the People Vote on Property Taxes
State Election Commission overturns a unanimous decision of the Davidson County Election Commission
The Tennessee State Election Commission has overturned a unanimous decision of the Davidson County Election Commission and years of precedent by ruling that a short, easily readable, one sentence summary of a charter amendment may NOT appear on the November Davidson County ballot.
This summary was to be for the Charter Amendment requiring a vote of the people of Davdison County on property tax rate increases. Only the full text of the amendment will appear.
Research by the Committee to Let the People Vote on Property Taxes was unable to find any previous charter amendment which did not have a short, easily readable summary on the ballot.
Ben Cunningham, spokesman for the group said, "Clearly this ruling is unprecedented. I can think of no good reason for such a ruling. Why the State Election Commission chose to overrule the local Davidson County Commission and change the rules now, and for this amendment, is a mystery. Even with this change, which will make finding the amendment on the ballot a bit more difficult, I am confident the people of Davidson County will still overwhelmingly seek out and vote FOR this amendment."
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
This is an insane situation in so many respects. Congress continues to increase exponentially the complexity of the IRS code at the behest of every lobbyist on K street. Citizens and businesses spend more and more time complying with the code (time which could otherwise be used to produce goods and services that actually have value) and we don't even hold the government agency, responsible for collecting the tax, accountable for errors in the advice they give to citizens.
Why do we put up with this insanity???
Here in Tennessee, state government still has approx $100 million sitting in a bank account that has not been appropriated. This is part of the approx $400 million surplus for fiscal 2005-2006, the remainder has already been spent. The $100 million should be returned to the citizens ASAP in the form of a reduction in the sales tax on food.
This kind of arrogance by an elected official simply can not be tolerated by the citizens.
Monday, September 11, 2006
"I understand and share a desire to ensure that everyone who works in the city of Chicago earns a decent wage," Daley said in a letter addressed to the council that was filed with the City Clerk's office. "But I do not believe that this ordinance, well intentioned as it may be, would achieve that end.
"Rather, I believe it would drive jobs and businesses from our city, penalizing neighborhoods that need additional economic activity the most," Daley said. "In light of this, I believe it is my duty to veto this ordinance."It was the first time in Daley's 17 years as mayor he exercised his veto power. By law, the mayor had until Wednesday's council meeting to issue his veto."
Lets see: the taxpayers paid for the research, should we have access to it? DARN RIGHT
THIS is another bipartisan bill that bloggers should promote!!
That would require Metro to take property taxes generated by other properties to help pay for the stadium's construction instead of relying solely on taxes from the new developments by the ballpark. Those other revenues usually would go to schools, police protection and other city services. How much has not been determined.Which, of course, means that we the taxpayers will pay more. But we were assured all the i's werer dotted and the t's were crossed. A bold prediction: we will hear about more i's undotted. Hey, it could be worse. In Jackson they built a brand new stadium for the Jaxx and now it looks like they will be leaving town...after they clean up all the lawsuits.
The next time the Metro Council says, "have we got a deal for you"....we should all run very fast in the opposite direction.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
"In the past, a lack of data enabled stagnation. Armchair observations of real-estate agents were often the most sophisticated opinions regarding the quality of local schools. Today, online services like www.greatschools.net provide a mountain of comparative testing and parental review data in a few short clicks.
New technologies and practices, such as self-paced computer-based instruction and data-based merit pay for instructors, hold enormous promise which has only begun to be explored. That said, disadvantaged children in KIPP Academy schools, among others, have achieved phenomenal academic results not with new technologies, but rather with old-fashioned “time on task” hard work and extended school days."
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Long Live the DEVOLUTION!!!
North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns talking about his proposed tax cut
"The hi-tech guru now after the city's top political seat launched parts of an aggressive campaign platform yesterday that includes cutting city staff, property taxes and the city's crack pipe program.
O'Brien, who is the founder of Calian, a successful Ottawa hi-tech firm, said city spending has been out of control for the past six years under Mayor Bob Chiarelli, compared to the modest growth the city has experienced in the same time."
Ottawa Mayoral candidate Larry O'Brien
"The Labor-HHS-Education measure is just one of the House’s dozen annual appropriations bills, but it provides a glimpse into how power and electoral strategy influence the expenditure of public money.
Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Regula, the bill’s chief draftsman, set aside millions for his northeast Ohio’s Canton-based 16th District. Thirty-nine earmarks totaling $10 million dollars are headed to Regula’s district, nearly 30 percent of the $34 million haul for Ohio. Regula also may have been active in securing money for Democratic Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones’s 11th District in nearby Cleveland, which houses Case Western Reserve University’s National Center for Regenerative Medicine and other institutions important to the region they share.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (Calif.) San Francisco district leads the pack among Democratic earmarks in the bill with a total of $7.9 million in earmarks headed there. But Wisconsin’s David Obey, the top Democrat on the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee, is sending a sizable sum to the northwestern part of his state as well. Obey’s 7th District is in line to receive 23 projects worth $6.8 million.
The 17 districts represented by subcommittee members, Republican and Democratic, would receive at least $65 million, according to the bill analysis, or $3.8 million per district.
Next in line are the vulnerable incumbents in both parties."
Friday, September 08, 2006
I was looking at the WaPo voter database cited in the post below at Harold Ford Jr's voting history and I was wondering if it showed any discernible changes related to an election year.
I put in the last 5 years of HFJr's voting record in a database (you can download my spreadsheet with all data and formulas HERE.) I looked at how many times he votes with the Dems and how many times he votes with Repubs (when the parties vote differently). Here are the results:
Percentage of the votes where
Harold Ford Jr votes with Repubs
2002 - 13.3%
2003 - 11.2%
2004 - 9.5%
2005 - 16.9%
2006 - 16.4%
For 2006 there is a upturn by Qtr
1st Qtr - 11.1%
2nd Qtr - 14.75%
3rd Qtr - 27%
Long term it looks relatively stable but the stat for 3rd Qtr is significantly larger.
Ford Voting Record
TN Delegation Voting Record
Thursday, September 07, 2006
"A federal indictment accuses Tracy Costin of telling her employees to "talk to cats and dogs" while instructing them to make up survey results.
And an F-B-I agent tells the Connecticut Post that half the information supplied to the Bush campaign by DataUSA was falsified."
This ought to be very interesting.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
From the Tax Foundation Blog:
"There are many reasons to oppose federal and state estate taxes. One that is sometimes overlooked is the damage an estate or inheritance tax does to a state's competitiveness. Now that 24 states no longer levy estate taxes, states that continue to impose estate or inheritance taxes may have a hard time attracting or keeping retirees and business owners who wish to pass the business on to their children."
A few comments in response to your column:
1- "Some folks believe a petition-driven November referendum could mean their property taxes will never again be raised without their vote. They are wrong."
You are absolutely correct. In fact, we had a number of people who expressed opposition to our proposed charter amendment because it was too modest. They wanted more of a Prop 13 type of proposal that would freeze tax bills. The proposed amendment is comparable to the method now used to raise the local option sales tax rate, i.e., the revenue from the sales tax increases each year as prices and sales volume increase but in order to increase the rate a referendum must be held to allow voters to say if they are willing and able to bear the burden of a tax RATE increase.
2 - "It sounds gloriously sexy: give the power to the people to decide when the city needs more property taxes. The strongest argument against it is Democracy 101: We elect people we trust to make decisions like this."
There are three major sources of revenue for local government. They are 1-the property tax, 2-the local option sales tax, and the 3-wheel tax. State law already provides for a referendum for two of these three revenue sources. As stated above, the local option sales tax rate may never be raised without a referendum. There are three methods available to pass a county wheel tax and two of those involve a referendum. (Metro has its own form of wheel tax and thus state law doesn't apply as regards the wheel tax but my point is that all other counties allow referendums as an option for increasing the wheel tax.) We are simply proposing that the property tax rate in Metro also be subject to a referendum in the same manner that is already allowed for two other major taxes.
3 - "They won't say it, but I will. Frustration leading to this vote bubbled up because Nashville mayors have passed property tax hikes on top of reappraisals. It's kind of a sneaky way to make the tax hike not look so bad, and it's killing people in hot real estate markets. They got hit with a double whammy tax hike."
I would agree in part that the double whammy is part of the frustration but equally important is the tax rate in Davidson County as compared to surrounding counties. Also important is the fact that surrounding counties have reduced rates during re-appraisals whereas Davidson has rasied them. Below is a graph of the county rates over the last 10 years for Davidson (GSD), Sumner, Rutherford, and Williamson (Here is the source for the data):
The trend is very clear, Davidson has increased the rate as values have increased and surrounding counties have kept them stable or lowered them. The Davidson County rate is now more than $1.50 above these three counties as a result of this long term divergence.
As always, thanks for listening.
City officials in Jackson are seeing dollar signs and it doesn't look like anything short of a lawsuit will stop them from annexing a large area north of the town. Of course, the city always has the option of allowing a vote by residents that are to be annexed. But that is probably too much like taxation with representation.
"After hearing from a parade of speakers opposed to annexation, the Jackson City Council voted on first reading Tuesday to annex 12 square miles of northwest Madison County."Source:
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
These are Private Letter Rulings, Chief Counsel letters, and Technical
Advice Memoranda requested by taxpayers and IRS field representatives about issues that are unclear or involve special circumstances.
Just a brief look at a few of these rulings gives an extremely troubling glimpse into the mind bending and convoluted complexity of the IRS code. It is, very simply, complexity totally out of control.
Eeeet iz uh khrazzy wold we leeeve een (Think French accent).
Monday, September 04, 2006
"The property tax debate in Gallatin is heating up to the boiling point with Mayor Don Wright promising to veto a tax increase of any kind.What is HE saying????!!!! Is he saying that government should make hard decisions about their budget??? Why...this is heresey!!
“If they try to raise property taxes, I will veto it,” Wright said in an exclusive interview with The News Examiner. “I’d rather see (us) tighten our belt.”
What will happen if government has to make some cuts?? The same thing that happens every month with every taxpayer's family budget: You delay or eliminate purchases of low priority items. And what is the result??? You wake up the next day and the sun rises and the birds are singing and life goes on...its called dealing with reality.
First and foremost they took care of themselves, of course. Here are some of the bills that passed:
SB 145: Would permit officeholders who are not seeking reelection or another post to continue raising campaign cash.
SB 44: Would allow car dealers to hike the fees they charge for document preparation.
AB 2592: Would allow car rental companies to advertise prices that do not include airport concession fees consumers must pay.
"This is so typical of what happens at the last minute," said Robert Fellmeth, executive director of the San Diego-based Center for Public Interest Law. "All sorts of horrible things go sweeping through."
Normally, drafting laws involves several public hearings strung out over many months. But near the end of the session, dozens of "jam jobs" emerge — bills that, by design, are dashed through the Legislature so quickly that even their authors may not know what's hidden in them. Often, they involve goodies for various interest groups."
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity (desire) may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."Wendi Thomas, in her Commercial Appeal column, gives kudos to the Memphis City Council for considering "living wage" legislation which basically establishes a minimum wage of $12.56. What will be the result of this well intended "living wage"? It will make employers even more reluctant to take the risk of hiring low skilled workers because the cost of doing so will be significantly increased.
Liniving wage legislation will dramatically decrease the opportunities for the very people Wendi believes she is helping. Declaring that poor people should have more money is expressing a sentiment we all share and it makes us feel good about ourselves to say it but simply expressing the sentiment does nothing to address the real problem: expanding job opportunities for people with very low job skills and giving them a path out.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
This is an ironic result, especially in light of the fact that the Metro Council passed a bill last year that makes it impossible for Metro to privatize services offered by Metro Government.
Friday, September 01, 2006
The City of Murfreesboro has not yet legally annexed a large area in Rutherford County but is already forcing city services on residents that don't even want them. And the actual taxpaying residents of the city are paying for services provided to people not even living in the city, a very strange situtation indeed.
“(the lawsuit) clearly does (halt annexation),” said David Buuck, an attorney for the Knoxville-based Citizens for Home Rule, a nonprofit group that opposes forced annexation, who is representing the residents. “It halts the annexation until there is a final determination from the court.”Update: Tennessean Report says Murfreesboro is reconsidering.
Buuck said he has filed over 200 lawsuits to halt annexations since the mid-1980s and this is the first time a municipality went forward with annexation anyway.
The city of Murfreesboro won’t explain to The Daily News Journal its reasoning for going forward with annexation.
Robertson said while the city may be extending garbage collection, it is not accepting applications for city business licenses for these residences.
“If they are not taking taxes, but they are providing services, I think the actual residents of Murfreesboro should be angry about that,” he said."
ABC Part 1
ABC Part 2 (second plane impacts at 3 mins)
ABC Part 3
ABC Part 4
It took seven years and a trial for land holding partners John Shelley and James Cooper to get what they consider fair compensation from Marion Natural Gas System.
Eminent domain allows government entities and utilities to seize private property, regardless of whether owners agree that they are fairly compensated.
"We wanted to settle," Shelley said after the $160,000 damage verdict. "We didn't want to go to court."
The Marion County jury awarded the incidental damages for the utility taking the small section of a 27-acre parcel to build a regulation station."